Environmental influences on reproductive health: the importance of chemical exposures

We review the literature on maternal and fetal exposures to environmental chemicals and their associated health consequences, disparities in chemical exposures, and future research directions, and provide recommendations for prevention of harmful chemical exposure.

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Volume 106, Issue 4, Pages 905-929


Aolin Wang, Ph.D., Amy Padula, Ph.D., Marina Sirota, Ph.D., Tracey J. Woodruff, Ph.D.


Chemical exposures during pregnancy can have a profound and life-long impact on human health. Because of the omnipresence of chemicals in our daily life, there is continuous contact with chemicals in food, water, air, and consumer products. Consequently, human biomonitoring studies show that pregnant women around the globe are exposed to a variety of chemicals. In this review we provide a summary of current data on maternal and fetal exposure, as well as health consequences from these exposures. We review several chemical classes, including polychlorinated biphenyls, perfluoroalkyl substances, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, phenols, phthalates, pesticides, and metals. Additionally, we discuss environmental disparities and vulnerable populations, and future research directions. We conclude by providing some recommendations for prevention of chemical exposure and its adverse reproductive health consequences.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility┬« is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.